Chief Lawless resigns in Edmonds to take a job in Marysville

He had been with the department for more than 25 years, serving as interim chief since December 2019.

Jim Lawless

Jim Lawless

EDMONDS — Edmonds interim police Chief Jim Lawless, who late last year was passed over for the permanent job, is taking a postwith the city of Marysville, he announced Tuesday.

On March 24, he’ll become the assistant police chief of the Marysville Police Department, the agency announced separately.

“It is with very mixed emotions that I submit this official notice of resignation from the Edmonds Police Department,” Lawless said in a letter on Monday to Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson.

A longtime veteran of the department, Lawless took over as Edmonds’ interim chief in December 2019, when longtime Chief Al Compaan retired. His last day there will be March 22.

“It has been my honor and privilege to serve you for the past 25+ years,” Lawless said in a statement Tuesday. “While the Edmonds Police Department continues to be in a significant period of transition, I want to reassure you that you will continue to be served and protected by the amazing women and men of your police department.”

“I am looking forward to the quality of leadership and depth of experience that Jim brings to Marysville,” Chief Erik Scairpon said in a news release.

In Edmonds, it’s now up to Mayor Nelson to find another interim chief. Meanwhile, the city is conducting a nationwide search for the next chief.

“I really appreciate Jim’s many years of dedicated service to our city,” Nelson said in an emailed statement. “It has been a pleasure getting to know him this past year, and I wish him and his family the very best. I hope he has great success in his career with the Marysville Police Department.”

During Edmonds’ first search for a permanent chief, Nelson last April said that Lawless was the only man for the job. But city code requires at least two finalists when searching for a department head.

Nelson asked the council to bypass the rule and confirm Lawless. The council voted 4-3 against doing so.

Then, in the fall, Lawless was named one of two candidates. However, Nelson nominated Sherman Pruitt, chief of police for the Sauk-Suiattle tribe near Arlington.

Pruitt was confirmed by the council in a contentious, and rushed, 4-3 vote. But shortly after, it was discovered he had omitted key information in his application and was no longer eligible for the job.

Lawless has remained the interim chief since, but announced earlier this year he would not seek the permanent position.

“Again, I remain incredibly impressed (but in no way surprised) by their continued professionalism and sacrifice during this time of uncertainty and transition,” Lawless said of the Edmonds police force. “The most diverse department in our city has continued to do their job at an exceptionally high level this past year, no matter what has been put in front of them.”

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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